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Cameras installed at the Varca junction to keep a watch on those entering the village as an added measure to prevent burglaries

Landlords hesitate to complete tenant verification : Spate of robberies IN Salcete

 

BY JOAO SOUSA M | NT

NAVELIM: Influx of migrants and a spate of house robberies over the years have dented the rural Salcete tag of being a safe haven as it once used to be. This year alone over 30 house break-ins have been reported in Salcete.

As per figures available, a total of 95 incidents of house break-ins during the nights were reported in South Goa district which includes 33 cases in Margao, 13 in Colva, 10 in Maina-Curtorim, 7 each in Canacona and Verna. In 2015, the situation was no different with the villages of Varca and Velim being prime targets with nearly 14 cases reported in the past six months.

The rate of high house thefts is a matter of concern despite Goa police in 2014 forming special anti-burglary/theft cells in both north and south Goa districts. Gangs continue to strike despite patrolling and nakabandis being posted at strategic places.

With the development of Margao industrial estate, Cuncolim industrial estate, and scrapyards, the number of migrants has spread out to villages who reside in rented premises. Most of the migrants do not follow mandatory procedures of getting tenant verification done as mandated by law.

Maria Dias, 77, a villager said, “When we were young I remember we used to keep our house and windows open and no one would bother to enter the house. But during the past few years we cannot think of keeping our windows open as we do not know who could enter during the day, leave alone the night. Each night we have to cross check if the doors are latched properly as there have been two attempts to break open my ancestral house.”

Laju Miranda from Cavelossim said, “The spate of robberies has increased as there are a lot of suspicious people moving along the road during the day. They monitor houses and suddenly strike. These robberies can be prevented if the police are a more vigilant.  The police have to carryout intensive patrolling as this will not only prevent robberies but will also help to catch those dumping garbage on the roadside.”

It is learnt that landlords hesitate to get the tenants to complete tenant verification with a fear that the data obtained is reported to the panchayat and the panchayat recovers a month’s rent as tax from the landlords.

A sarpanch said that most of the houses given on rent are illegal and to avoid being charged one month’s rent the owners bypass the law. As a result nobody knows the past history of the tenants nor do the land owners keep any records with them.

The recent crude bomb blast in Sao Jose de Areal which claimed the life of a person is a perfect example of how owners bypassed the law without getting the tenant verification done at the time of giving the premises on rent.

Interestingly, many panchayats have come forward to carry out tenant verification in their respective villages. Villages of Chandor, Varca, Navelim have already completed the tenant verification recently, while villages of Dramapur and Ambelim had initiated the process to carry out tenant verification, given the rise in house break-in cases.

Varca sarpanch Simon Fernandes said that after a spate of robberies in the village, the villagers vented their anger at the gram sabha. He said that the panchayat called a joint meeting with police officials, local MLA and other stakeholders and discussed at length measures to control the spate of robberies. He said that people too came out and kept vigil while police intensified their patrolling.  As a result there have been no robberies in the past few months.

Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado said, “I have been personally following up with the police to increase patrolling in Navelim constituency especially at nights to prevent house break-ins. Fortunately, Navelim constituency has by and large remained free from house-breaks barring a few incidents.”

Highly placed police sources said that the police have been directed to monitor movements of migrants living in tenanted premises and that they have actually been going around gathering details of such migrants. He said that police too face hardships given that they do not have proper vehicles as most of them are either old or poorly maintained.

The official informed that people need to be vigilant and people cannot expect the police to work miracles. He said if people observe any suspicious movement especially around houses which are closed or inhabited by senior citizens, the police must be alerted. He also warned that robbers survey their prospective targets by disguising as salesmen, hence public should be careful.

 

OFFICIALS SPEAK

Navelim is free of house break-ins

“I am personally following up with the police to increase patrolling in Navelim constituency especially at nights to prevent house break-ins. Fortunately, Navelim constituency has by and large remained free from house break-ins barring a few incidents”

Avertano Furtado, Fisheries Minister

Assolna outpost upgradation pending

“A proposal for upgradation of the police outpost at Assolna to a full-fledged police station was placed before the government, and the matter was raised in the Assembly. However, the outpost is still awaiting upgradation though the file has been placed before the police department for consideration”

Benjamin Silva, Velim MLA

Police patrolling intensified in Varca

“After a spate of robberies in the village, the villagers vented their anger at the recently held gram sabha. The panchayat called a joint meeting with police officials, local MLA and other stakeholders and discussed at length measures to control the spate of robberies. Villagers too came out and kept vigil while police intensified their patrolling.  As a result there have been no robberies in the past few months”

Simon Fernandes, Varca sarpanch

 

PEOPLES PULSE

Living alone has become nightmare

“When we were young I remember we used to keep our house and windows open and no one would bother to enter the house. But during the past few years we cannot think of keeping our windows open as we do not know who could enter during the day, leave alone the night. Every night we have to cross check if the doors are latched properly as there have been two attempts to break open my ancestral house”

Maria Dias, Senior citizen

Police must be more vigilant

“The spate of robberies has increased as there are a lot of suspicious people moving along the road during the day. They monitor houses and strike suddenly. These robberies can be prevented if the police are a more vigilant.  The police have to carryout intensive patrolling as this will not only prevent robberies but will also help to catch those dumping garbage by the roadside”

Laju Miranda, Cavelossim

Salcete villages have become unsafe

“Villages have become unsafe due to the presence of migrants. Not all migrants are involved in crime but there are a few who influence others in committing the crime. What is alarming is the police have a poor detection rate even though Chief Minister Laximikant Parsekar holds the department in high esteem”

Chris D’Souza (name changed), Navelim

Cops have ignored the case

“I was in UK when the incident happened. Upon receiving the news I returned from UK and pursued the case with the police, but the police showed little interest. Some five policemen had visited my house, three of which were in civilian clothes. Despite giving them the lead the police have ignored the case and had shown no interest”

Nila Vaz, Senior citizen, Velim

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